Biden keeps current color scheme for next Air Force One after scrapping Trump design

An artist's concept of the next Air Force One, a Boeing 747-8.
(Image credit: United States Air Force)

President Biden on Friday finalized the color scheme for the new iteration of Air Force One, the U.S. Air Force announced. The next version of the presidential plane will keep the same basic livery as the current aircraft, with a few minor tweaks.

In a press release, the Air Force said that the design for the upcoming VC-25B, a customized Boeing 747-8 that is slated to begin serving as Air Force One in the late 2020s, will have "three primary differences" from the current livery. This includes a light blue base with a slightly "deeper, more modern tone" and a darker blue around the cockpit. The polished metal section seen on the current Air Force One will also be done away with, as "modern commercial aircraft skin alloys don't allow for it."

The current Air Force One, a Boeing 747 dubbed VC-25A, went into service in 1990, and its advanced age has caused the plane to face "capability gaps, rising maintenance costs, and parts obsolescence." The Boeing 747-8 was tapped to succeed the current plane in 2015, and will come with "electrical power upgrades, a mission communication system, a medical facility, an executive interior, a self-defense system, and autonomous ground operations capabilities," the Air Force said.

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Biden's decision to keep the current livery, which dates back to the Kennedy administration, does away with a previous choice made by former President Donald Trump in 2019. Trump had selected a darker red, white, and blue color scheme for the new plane, but the Biden administration made it clear upon taking office that they would do away with this palette.

The Air Force said the dark blue in Trump's livery would have required additional testing "due to the added heat in certain environments," and would have also raised operational costs.

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